The Brief – Part of the Union

A political stunt it may have been, but Paul Givan’s decision to resign as Northern Ireland’s First Minister over the Northern Ireland protocol still looks like an effective tactic.

The Brief — The party’s over

It was always likely that something trivial would bring down Boris Johnson. It would never be policy because Johnson is, ideologically, something of an empty vessel. Throughout his career, it has always been unclear what, besides advancing his own interests, he actually believes in.

David Frost leaves: Christmas comes early in Brussels

What was behind the resignation of David Frost as UK “Brexit Minister”, and would it be enough to halt the declining UK-EU relations? Dick Roche shares his thoughts. Dick Roche is a former Irish Minister for European Affairs and former...

The Brief, powered by The Greens/EFA — Island of lost content

Few people in Britain (or Europe, for that matter) understand Northern Ireland. Even fewer understand its politics. That perhaps explains why so little attention was paid to the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland during the referendum campaign in 2016.

The Brief – No country or bloc is an island

The crisis in Afghanistan may be prompting the EU to have a crisis of confidence and bout of self–examination about its role in the world, but it is not the only one. The same can be said of Britain. Twenty...

The Brief – It takes EU to tango

As EU officials prepare for their holidays, they have an extra reason to pack their bags faster than usual; to avoid the siren call of British politicians haranguing them to reopen parts of the Brexit settlement. It would be easy,...

The Brief, powered by Martens Centre – Five years

Lest we forget, five years ago this week the UK voted to leave the EU. It seems like a world away, yet it is striking how little has changed.

The Brief, powered by Martens Centre – Not so settled status

Whether or not the UK government and EU counterparts care to admit it, living abroad has become more complicated in the age of no more free movement.

The Brief – Battle of the bangers

In the British vintage comedy series Yes, Minister, the hapless Jim Hacker becomes prime minister on the strength of a campaign against plans by the European Commission to introduce a “Euro sausage”. That would mean the end of the gritty...

The Brief, powered by GIE – Cod War II

Nothing stirs Anglo-Gallic passions quite like the sight of gunboats in the Channel. The presence of several hundred patrol boats in the waters around Jersey – one of the picturesque Channel islands that provides offshore banking to the mega-rich – is the latest act in the Brexit farce.

With Brexit deal ratified, EU and UK parliamentarians must now rebuild their relationship

With the post-Brexit trade pact now formally ratified, EU and UK lawmakers must take the lead in rebuilding the cross-Channel relationship, writes John McStravick.

The Brief, powered by GIE – The 28th state?

Theatre director Thomas Bellinck's dystopian vision 'The House of European History in Exile', a museum exhibition in Brussels in 2013, when Brexit itself looked improbable, predicted that an independent Scotland would be the last country to join the EU.

The Brief, powered by FACEBOOK – Sold down the river

Even those of us who have the rosiest impressions of our politicians know that they all twist the truth. Most get away with it, but the biggest lies have a nasty habit of catching up with them.

Time for Boris to stop ‘passing the buck’

Bluster, bluff and a freewheeling approach to facts have been the hallmark of the attitude of Boris Johnson to the problems Brexit posed for Northern Ireland, writes Dick Roche.

The Brief, powered by FACEBOOK – Bluff, bravado and a fragile border

Divorces tend not to bring out the best in people and the UK’s divorce from the EU continues to produce some pretty unedifying behaviour and foolish bravado.

The Brief, powered by APPLIA – The price of unfinished business

It would be something of an understatement to say that there have been a few teething problems in the first two months of the brave new EU-UK trading world. The stories of rotting fish, visa-less musicians and lorries turned away...

The Brief, powered by FACEBOOK – The horse and his cart of euros

The €750 billion Eurobond to pay for the bloc’s recovery from the COVID pandemic “will pave the way for a treasury and common EU taxation”, a cross-party group of EU lawmakers have argued on these pages this week. It’s a...

The Brief, powered by FACEBOOK – Another pointless act

The theatre and live music are two of the joys of life that have fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic. After a year of silence in our theatres, concert halls and stadiums, with vaccine programmes moving apace (touch wood!), we should be able to enjoy these delights again in the coming months.

Commission right to call London’s bluff

The UK Government has been shamelessly using the Commission’s gaffe about Article 16 of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol in its attempts to avoid the blame for post-Brexit problems and to lever additional concessions from Brussels, writes Dick Roche.

The Article 16 row is liable to happen again unless lessons are learned

The row over the European Commission's short-lived plan to use the Northern Ireland Protocol to stop exports of COVID-19 vaccines is over for now. But it could easily flare up again, writes John Bruton.

The Brief, powered by GSMA – The protocol price

Accepting the Northern Ireland Protocol was the price that the UK's Conservative MPs had to pay for Brexit. Even so, they did so very reluctantly, at the fourth time of asking, and only after replacing Theresa May with Boris Johnson as prime minister.

A disunited kingdom

The EU-made "crisis" with the Northern Ireland Protocol is an opportunity for Boris Johnson to distract domestic audience from the threat that his Brexit spells for the unity of the United Kingdom, writes Dick Roche.
Coronavirus 02-02-2021

The Brief, powered by Facebook – Some already miss the UK

It’s not going to be easy to sweep the EU’s vaccines mess under the carpet. Several media across Europe are now calling out those responsible for the “fiasco” over the way the European Commission has handled vaccine deals with the...

The Brief, powered by Facebook – Von der Leyen’s worst week

The European Commission is under tremendous pressure. It is struggling to make sure that companies that produce vaccines, for which it has paid €2.7 billion in advance and with which it has signed contracts, stop sending their vaccines elsewhere, harming the interests of the Europeans.